Foul odour, pools of sewage around toilets haunt commuters

Notwithstanding the recent attempts by Tiruchi Corporation to improve sanitation by building more toilets at Central Bus Stand in the city, poor hygienic condition continues to mar the surroundings inside the bus stand.

Apart from the foul odour that hangs in the air and pools of sewage around the toilets, it is quite apparent that many of the newly built structures are poorly maintained, putting off commuters from using the facility.

The corporation some months ago had taken up special project to strengthen and increase the toilets inside the bus stand, which had gained notoriety for poor sanitation in recent years.

In an attempt to ensure that commuters had free access to toilets, previous corporation commissioner Veera Raghava Rao had built a series of cubicles and toilets inside the bus stand. Some of them were waterless toilets, which do not require flushing after every use.

The toilet cubicles, which are supposed to be directly connected to underground drains, are in bad shape now.

The corporation had then spent about Rs.81.95 lakh for improving sanitation inside the bus stand, including Rs.43.02 lakh for building toilets and the rest for other works such as construction of drains. The civic body had even warned of levying penalties for open urination.

But the warning never turned into action nor had a salutary effect. Just about a couple of months after the provision of new facilities, sanitary condition inside the bus stand still leaves much to be desired.

The construction of the toilets as such, especially opposite to the bus bays for Karur-bound buses, has helped ensure that more number of people could use the facilities. Yet, many men could still be seen from baulking at entering the toilets and instead prefer to relieve themselves around the compound walls. In an apparent indication of the problem, thorny bushes could be seen placed along the adjoining 117 Infantry Battalion complex to prevent open urination by commuters.

A section of the commuters blame the poor maintenance and absence of a regular cleaning system. “The foul odour and the unhygienic conditions is a definite problem.

Many prefer not to enter the toilets. Unless the corporation devises a system for periodic cleaning of the toilets round-the-clock, the situation is not going to improve,” said N.Rajendran, a frequent traveller.

A few others bemoan the lack of civic sense among the commuters.

“Much depends on whether the facilities are properly used and the corporation needs to sensitise the people first,” feels Ravi, an auto rickshaw driver.

The corporation is already working towards this end. It has planned to set up an awareness-cum-monitoring centre at the bus stand, equipped with a public address system and publicity material. The building, to be constructed at a cost of Rs.6 lakh, would also serve as a centre for displaying products made by self-help groups.

Keywords: sanitationsewagetoilets